Articles Posted in Tired Drivers

dreamstime_s_46737113Have you seen a driver keep drifting into your lane, hitting the rumble strip or running a red light until another driver beeps the horn and he slams on his brakes?

The driver is drunk, right? No, maybe he or she fell asleep at the wheel.

The effects of sleep deprivation are similar to alcohol consumption. Going 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to drinking until you have reached a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which would put you legally over the limit. Unlike drinking, however, you may not worry about feeling a little tired.

Presumably everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous. But the seriousness of drowsy driving is not widely appreciated.

A person who would not consider getting behind the wheel after getting wasted at a bar might think nothing about doing so after being awake all night or only getting five hours of sleep. Continue reading

460xEarly Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.

The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.

Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.

“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.

In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.

This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.

As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.

Why are insurance limits so low?

And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?

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dreamstime_xs_53614514Federal regulations govern the amount of sleep truck drivers get. But what for people just driving  cars?

A person piloting 4,000 pounds of metal at 40+ mph needs to be fully awake. But adequate sleep often is neglected due to work, family and other obligations.

This is a serious problem since sleep-deprived drivers cause about 100,000 auto accidents every year.

Did you know that being awake for 18 hours has the same effects on your cognition, judgment, reaction time and attentiveness as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent – the legal limit to drive in Texas?

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It’s Time We Wake Up to the Risks

You wouldn’t drive after drinking too much, but would you drive after sleeping too little?

For far too many responsible people, the answer is a surprising “yes.”

Getting enough sleep can be a serious challenge. In our fast paced world, many people are perpetually sleep-deprived and yet still have to get to work, pick up their children from school and handle daily tasks.

Sleep is often the first to go when trying to meet life’s demands.

In fact, a National Sleep Foundation survey found that almost one-third of people  are perpetually tired. Only about 30 percent regularly slept more than seven hours a night.

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Tired driver -- woman sleeping behind wheel

With job duties and family obligations, getting enough sleep can be an impossible dream. Unfortunately, you’re not alone. Texas roads are filled with sleep-deprived drivers who put you at risk of an accident.

60 percent of drivers admit to having driven while feeling drowsy during the previous 12 months and a whopping 37 percent have actually fallen asleep at the wheel, with 4 percent crashing as a result. And 13 percent of drivers chronically drove tired, falling asleep at least once a month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates sleep-deprivation causes 100,000 car crashes every year, resulting in 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. Look what happened to Tracy Morgan and his friend when they were crashed into by the Walmart driver who had been behind the wheel of a tractor trailer for over 24 hours.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

Sleep deprivation has immediate physical effects on your body. These symptoms can result in an automobile accident:

  • Decreased alertness
  • Distractibility
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Poor performance
  • Delayed reactions
  • And of course, nodding off

Driving drowsy has many of the same risks as driving drunk. Yet, there is not a Breathalyzer-like test to determine if a driver is too tired to be behind the wheel, making these dangerous drives almost impossible to identify.
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